Surprising IRS relief for required minimum distributions

In the CARES Act, passed on March 27, 2020, Congress eliminated this year’s Required Minimum Distributions from IRAs, 401(k)s, and 457(b) and 403(b) plans. The end of March, however, was too late for people who had already taken Required Minimum Distributions for 2020.
To remedy this situation, the IRS issued Notice 2020-51 on June 25, which allows taxpayers to replace Required Minimum Distributions taken year-to-date. Taxpayers now have until August 31 to replace the funds, and this includes replacing funds from an inherited IRA. Furthermore, taxpayers can replace multiple distributions because the “one rollover per year” provision does not apply for 2020.

Why does this matter to you and your philanthropic clients:

  • First, the ruling itself is unusual, in that the IRS seems to have engaged in what could be construed as lawmaking. We’re keeping an eye on rulings like this to gain an understanding of the reach of the IRS during times of crisis.
  • Second, for your clients over 70 ½ who were already planning to give their Required Minimum Distributions to charity this year, nothing has changed about their ability to do so. Be sure to take a careful look at each client’s 2020 tax situation. It could still be most advantageous for a client to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution instead of forgoing the Required Minimum Distribution or replacing the funds through the special rollover provisions now in place for 2020.